Locals charged in poaching case: State: TV show hunts were conducted illegally

Published 10:11 am Wednesday, September 16, 2015

A Hazlehurst host of the Sportsman Channel hunting show “The Syndicate” was charged this week with two felonies related to poaching in northwest Alaska.

Karen Loeffler, the U.S. attorney in Alaska, said at a news conference that grizzly bears, moose, caribou and Dall sheep were illegally killed in the Noatak National Preserve with the illegal kills ending up on the cable television show.

“The charges show five years of documented, illegal take of wildlife involving over two dozen big game animals,” Loeffler said.

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There were at least four hunts conducted for the show in Alaska over that time span, said Steven Skrocki, the lead prosecutor.

“All of the Alaska hunts that appeared on his show were conducted illegally,” he said, adding they “were edited to appear not illegal.”

Loeffler noted that various types of hunting, including commercial and subsistence hunting, is allowed in the preserve, north of the Arctic Circle.

Prosecutors charged a host of the show, Clark W. Dixon, 41, of Hazlehurst, with two felony violations of the Lacey Act. The others who were charged, from Alaska, Tennessee, Mississippi, Louisiana and Nevada, face misdemeanors or ticket offenses.

A message left by The Associated Press at Dixon’s home Monday evening was not immediately returned. Sportsman Channel spokesman Tom Caraccioli said the channel has no comment.

Among those charged is Dixon’s father, Charles W. Dixon, 70, of Brookhaven,  and authorities are seeking forfeiture of his aircraft.

Clark Dixon is charged with taking a grizzly bear for a fee in 2010 without being a licensed and registered big game hunting guide. He’s also charged with conducting an illegal outfitting operation since 2009. Prosecutors say he also lied about Alaska residency to take advantage of hunting privileges for locals.

The Sportsman Channel announced Tuesday that the show would be removed from its line-up.

“Upon being informed by the authorities of charges against Mr. Clark Dixon and Mr. Lance Walker they were terminated immediately by Syndicate Hunting,” the show wrote in a statement. “Mr. Dixon and Mr. Walker solely conducted their activities without the knowledge of Syndicate Hunting and no other representatives of Syndicate Hunting were present during their actions.”

Arraignment dates have not been set.  The multi-state investigation continues, according to U.S. Department of Justice.